Earlier this year, the WineBirds took a flight over the ocean, and landed in the wonderful land of La Rioja, the place of some excellent Spanish wines. La Rioja is a few hours north of Madrid, and about an hour and a half south of Bilbao. The main grape of the region is Tempranillo, and most wines are a mixed with some Grenache and perhaps Mazuelo and Graciana. These are great food wines — a great pairing with salty Manchengo cheese and jamon.
While in the region, we were able to stop at several wineries, one of which was Bodegas Ysios. We showed up at our designated appointment time, and found that J had booked our tour in Spanish (this ended up being a theme of our trip). As we were the only ones on the tour, our guide graciously ran the tour in English.
The first time you see Ysios, you will think your eyes are playing tricks on you. The incredible building looks like a pixelated version of the mountains that sit behind it — and seems as large! Stepping into the building, you are met with a modern winemaking wonderland. The current production is on the lower side, but they are beginning to ramp up — the facilities are definitely meant to support this. As we had just come from a much older winery, this modernity was particularly striking.
The tour is a beautiful walk from press through aging. The barrel room is also a thing of beauty, new oak casks lined up as far as the eye can see. Shortly after the tour, you are welcomed to the incredible tasting room to sample their wines, along with some cheese and chorizo (one of the best parts of tasting in Spain!). We were left alone to taste and enjoy the view for quite some time. The wines are fine — nothing spectacular but good representations of the region. We left with two bottles, and the tour included a beautiful wine glass for each of us.
During your visit to La Rioja, it is well worth your time to make a stop at Bodegas Ysios.
La Hoya Bidea, s/n
15E Tasting Fee